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Catholic Social Science Review

Volume 21, 2016

Fr. Dan Pattee, T.O.R.
Pages 99-115

Social Justice and Catholic Social Thought

This essay examines a revision that took place in the meaning of social justice among commentators on and scholars of papal social teaching from the time of Pope St. John XXIII. The revision occurred under the influence of Marxist ideology over the application of Catholic social thought to questions of reform in society. This essay will argue that there was never any real change in the papal social encyclicals themselves, as evidenced by Blessed Pope Paul VI’s statements in and by the attempt of Pope St. John Paul II to return the meaning of social justice to its original soil of the Gospel and the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas.

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